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Monday, April 7, 2014

No Spring Thaw in the Job Market

Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from

One of the many good things about the arrival of spring is that politicians, economists and other policy makers can no longer blame the winter weather for the slow economy and the grinding pace of job growth.

The employment report for March, released Friday, indicates that weather did not have as negative an impact in January and February as originally believed; job tallies for those months were revised upward. Accordingly, the springtime bounce in employment was not as great as anticipated. The 192,000 new jobs created in March fell short of the consensus forecast for stronger growth. Monthly job growth averaged 178,000 in the first quarter, compared with the monthly average of 194,000 in all of 2013.

That’s not progress. The sluggish job market is consistent with economic growth forecasts for the first quarter of 2014, which generally top out around 2.5 percent, and broader economic-growth data from the last quarter of 2013, which showed little momentum heading into 2014.

In March, after almost five years of achingly slow recovery, private-sector employment finally surpassed its prerecession peak. But there is more to a healthy job market than replacing private-sector jobs that were lost. A more complete picture must also include the government jobs that have been lost since the recession but never replaced, as well as jobs that were needed to keep up with population growth but never created. All told, the economy is still short a stunning 7.3 million jobs.


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